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The iconic lineup of Nissan Z cars, from the original 240Z to the modern take, has always set sights on being an attainable dream car. For decades now, Nissan has offered amazing handling, acceleration, and overall performance with a reasonable price tag. After driving the 2023 Nissan Z on some twists and turns, I am confident in saying that it upholds the legacy and then some. In my opinion, it could very well be the best affordable sports car of our time.

Nissan Z Specs: Plenty of Power and Poetry in Suspension Engineering

Under the hood of the 2023 Nissan Z is a twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 engine making 400 horsepower. Known as the VR30DDTT internally, the engine in the Z shares its foundation (the VR family of engines) with the almighty R35 Nissan GT-R. It’ll sprint from zero to 60 MPH in under 4.5 seconds, but straight-line performance isn’t what the Z is about.

In a recent trip with Bridgestone, I was given the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the new Z. I got to take it on a drive through some winding mountain roads. Fortunately for me, I got behind the wheel of a six-speed manual model. What I experienced was nothing short of a heavenly driving experience.

Side profile view of a red 2024 Nissan Z Sports Car, one of the best affordable sports cars currently on the market
2024 Nissan Z | Nissan

The Nissan Z is confident in corners. The turn-in is direct and predictable. Even on throttle (and suddenly letting off, for that matter), the rear end is very planted and tame. You don’t have to be an expert driver to have a good time driving the Nissan Z. That is exactly what makes it (and its predecessors) so phenomenally fun.

There’s plenty of power for coming out of corners. Or, if you just like to stab the throttle and feel a little acceleration from time to time, the twin-turbo V6 provides more than ample excitement. Sure, it’s not the fastest thing in the world, but it doesn’t need to be. I went into the Z with high expectations, and every one of them was met or surpassed.

How much is the new Nissan Z?

Rear view of a red 2024 nissan z driving on a race track
Nissan Z on track | Nissan

Nissan Z Nismo vs BMW M240i: Six-Cylinder Showdown

According to Nissan, 2023 model year MSRP is $40.990 for the base-level Sport trim and $50,990 for the Performance trim. There is a more expensive trim level, the “Proto Spec,” but Nissan only made 240 of them, and they are long sold out, so you need not worry about those.

The biggest upgrade for the Performance trim, in my opinion, is the limited-slip differential. If you’re going to spend any time on track, autocross courses, or doing serious driving of any type, the LSD upgrade is certainly advantageous. The Performance trim also includes upgraded brakes and spoilers in both the front and rear. Ultimately, though, if you’re just looking for a fun and spirited time, buying a standard Sport model will certainly not disappoint. If you’re really interested in performance, saving the $10,000 upfront leaves plenty in the budget for aftermarket upgrades.

Overall, for the price, it’s hard to recommend anything that truly fits the driver-focused sports car formula. Undoubtedly, the new Nissan Z could very well be the best affordable sports car of our time.